Statement by H.E. Mr. R. Amarjargal,
Prime Minister of Mongolia
at the General Debate of the 54th Session
of the United Nations General Assembly
New York, September 25, 1999
It gives me a great pleasure to extend to you on behalf of my Government sincere congratulations on your unanimous election to the presidency of the 54th session of the General Assembly. May I express our confidence that under your able stewardship this session will successfully fulfil its important task.
The present session provides member States with an opportunity to have a serious and substantive review of the world affairs and the role of the United Nations, with particular focus on the forthcoming 21st century. In this respect I have no doubt that the deliberations here will be useful in preparing for the Millenium Summit and the Millenium Assembly to be held next year, to which the Mongolian Government attaches great importance.
The United Nations is a truly universal organization comprising big and small, developed and developing States. This year its membership reached 188 with the admission of three new members. I would like to take this opportunity to convey warm congratulations of the Mongolian people to the peoples of Kiribati, Nauru and Tonga on this auspicious occasion.
It is gratifying to note that our Organization not only enlarges its ranks but is also making tangible efforts to restructure its activities so as to raise its efficiency and effectiveness. It is a movement in the right direction. Further promotion of reforms is in the interest of the entire international community, especially of the small and medium States. Mongolia consistently supports the UN reforms aimed at further strengthening its role in ensuring international peace and security, promoting disarmament, development, social progress and peaceful settlement of conflicts in various parts of the world.
The increasing globalization and interdependence makes it imperative that the international community redouble its cooperative efforts to meet the existing and future challenges and to ensure a more secure environment for all the nations of the world. Globalization and interdependence also demonstrate the growing importance of multilateralism in world affairs and thus the need to further strengthen and envigorate the United Nations and other international institutions. As a result of the reform the United Nations should become more viable, effective, addressing equally the global problems.
The 1999 report submitted by the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization gives, in our view, a clear and analytical review of the UN activities, of its achievements and setbacks, the challenges that lay ahead, and contains concrete proposals on further measures to improve its performance in order to better serve the interests of member States. The Mongolian Government is supportive of the idea advanced by the Secretary-General concerning the need to shift “from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention “. It is in this spirit that Mongolia shall sign next week a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations on standby arrangements, whereby it would pledge to participate in future UN operations by contributing staff officers, military observers and medical officers.
Mongolia consistently pursues its all-embracing democratic reforms and the transition to market economy. Neither of them is easy. However the Government and the people of Mongolia are strongly committed to the choice they have made ten years ago. From this high rostrum I would like to reaffirm the irreversibility of the democratic process in Mongolia and the continuity of Mongolia’s foreign policy. My Government highly values the support and assistance given to Mongolia by the international community, particularly the donor countries and international organizations, which continue to be an important factor in our reform and development efforts.
The major thrust of Mongolia’s development strategy is to accelerate economic growth through further promotion of macroeconomic stabilization and development of the private sector-led economy. Mongolia places a high priority on creating an economic system that is flexible, open, that provides free flow of foreign capital, ensures a competitive environment and is underpinned by stable government policies and a reinvigorated modern financial sector that encourages economic growth. In pursuing this policy, my Government pays particular attention to the social dimensions of the economic reforms, namely poverty alleviation, reduction of unemployment and protection of the vulnerable strata of the country’s population.
Mongolia’s foreign policy activities are aimed at creating a favourable external environment for the implementation of this development strategy. At the same time my country is striving to make its contribution to the strengthening of international peace and stability as well as the promotion of dialogue and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Active participation in regional affairs, integration into regional processes alongside with consolidation of our bilateral ties with the countries of the region is one of Mongolia’s foreign policy priority tasks. I am pleased to underline that this year is especially fruitful in this respect.
International developments highlight once again the fragility of peace and stability in certain areas of the world, and the need for concerted actions and increased cooperation of States to prevent the outbreak of new conflicts, seek viable solutions to the existing disputes and promote further mutual understanding and trust among nations.
While noting some positive developments in international relations, Mongolia is seriously concerned with the lingering seats of tension, ethnic strifes and armed conflicts in Africa, Asia, Europe and calls on the parties involved to display restraint and seek peaceful solution through political dialogue and negotiations. In this context Mongolia welcomes the resumption of the peace process in the Middle East which, in our view, should lead to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region in compliance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the principle of “land for peace”.
Mongolia also duly appreciates the steps taken by the Security Council in addressing the emergency situation in East Timor and welcomes the cooperative approach of the Government of Indonesia towards the establishment of a multinational force to halt and reverse the further escalation of human catastrophe there, the people of which have overwhelmingly expressed itself in favor of independence.
My delegation stresses the importance of continuing the intra-Korean dialogue and the four party talks for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the Asia-Pacific region in general.
We are concerned over the tension in South Asia and add our voice to that of the international community that is calling on India and Pakistan to proceed to political dialogue and search of the peaceful solution of their dispute.
Peace and stability are essential pre-requisites for promoting economic development and social progress. That is why arms control and disarmament, particularly nuclear disarmament, remain on top of world agenda. Efforts to achieve further substantive progress in arms control and disarmament should be intensified. Agreements should be honored and implemented. Nuclear tests, missile technology developments, concerns over ABM treaty - all point to the urgent need for invigorating our activities in this direction. International arms control efforts need to be comprehensive, and include all aspects of arms and military technology. Strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime stands out as one of the top priorities not only due to the devastating nature of nuclear weapons and their enormous arsenal, but also due to the negative effect they have for the disarmament process in general.
Mongolia fully supports adopting multilateral norms restraining the development and possession of medium-range missiles and preventing their proliferation. We believe that progress on START track will be helpful in advancing disarmament negotiations in all areas. Nuclear disarmament also calls for the speedy agreement on banning fissile materials for nuclear weapons purposes. Mongolia continues to attach great importance to establishing effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
My delegation welcomes the outcome of the 1999 sessions of the Disarmament Commission and of the Preparatory Committee for the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. It attaches great importance to the NPT Review Conference to be held in the year 2000 in strengthening the international regime of nuclear non-proliferation. It also favours the earliest convening of the Fourth General Assembly special session devoted to disarmament.
Three years have elapsed since the adoption by the General Assembly of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which was a landmark event in the field of nuclear disarmament. Regrettably, this important international instrument has not yet come into force. In this connection Mongolia wishes to reiterate its call on those States, that have not done so, to sign and ratify the Treaty as soon as possible and thus contribute to the expeditious materialization of its noble objectives. We sincerely hope that the forthcoming conference of the States that have ratified the Treaty will be conducive to taking the necessary measures to this end.
It is our belief that all States, irrespective of their size and weight, can facilitate the attaining of the overall goal of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. That is why we believe that the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones in different parts of the world should be encouraged and supported. On its part, Mongolia is making efforts in this respect by declaring its territory a nuclear-weapon-free zone and taking the subsequent necessary steps to institutionalize its nuclear-weapon-free status.
Last year the General Assembly adopted by consensus the resolution on Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status. This marked a significant and encouraging event for Mongolia, testifying to a broad international support for our objectives and efforts. The adoption of the resolution constitutes an important contribution not only to Mongolia’s security, but also, bearing in mind its strategic location, to regional security as well. Implementation of the main provisions of the resolution in cooperation with other member countries, including the five nuclear states and the United Nations, is one of the major objectives of our foreign policy. The Mongolian Government has recently circulated a memorandum on this issue as an official document of the United Nations, in which it had pointed out, inter alia, that the Mongolian parliament is considering the adoption of a legislation defining its nuclear-weapon-free status.
Recently Mongolia hosted a UN regional disarmament meeting, one of the agenda items of which was the issue of Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status. The meeting proved to be useful in clarifying the pressing security issues and provided an opportunity for the first in-depth analysis and discussion of Mongolia's nuclear-weapon-free status in the light of its external security. We believe that identifying and defining its nuclear-weapon-free status would contribute to enhancing predictability, stability and confidence in Northeast Asia.
My Government fully shares the aspirations to ban anti-personnel land mines and welcomes the entry into force of the Ottawa Convention. The illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons is a matter of growing concern for the international community. Therefore Mongolia supports the convening of an international conference to consider this issue in 2001.
Considering that only comprehensive arms control and disarmament
measures will be effective in ensuring international security, we, like
many others, stand for prompt agreement on a new comprehensive
and non- selective agenda for disarmament that will address the relevant
issues in a balanced manner taking into account, among other things, the
need for preventing the development and use of new weapons as well as for
demilitarizing the global economy by reducing military budgets and shifting
resources towards human security programs.
Development issues continue to be in the focus of attention of national governments and international organizations and undoubtedly they will be a major challenge in the forthcoming century.
Globalization affects all States, though differently and unevenly. Many developing countries, particularly the least developed ones, not only fail to enjoy the benefits of globalization, but are being further marginalized. Therefore the adverse effects of globalization should be addressed seriously and the United Nations should be more actively involved in it.
The Asian economic and financial crisis has had significant socio-economic and security implications for the countries of the region. Though the situation is somehow stabilizing and the countries directly hit by the crisis are showing some signs of recovery, the international community should draw the necessary lessons from this crisis and consider ways and means of preventing in the future.
While appreciating the work done by the United Nations in the social and economic fields, my delegation would like to underline the importance of taking further effective measures to ensure the best utilization of the existing capacities and the comparative advantages of the Organization. Therefore it seems appropriate to stress the necessity of closer interaction and cooperation between the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions, the WTO and other relevant international organizations.
Financing of development represents a very sensitive and pressing issue that requires special attention on the part of the international community. Mongolia believes that the High-level intergovernmental meeting on financing for development, to be held in 2001, would be timely in exploring the various options of promoting financial stability and development. In this respect, relieving the debt burden of the highly indebted developing countries would be a form of contribution to their development efforts. We also attach great importance to the South summit and UNCTAD X, to be held next year.
Mongolia supports universality of the World
Trade Organization. The new round of multilateral trade negotiations
should facilitate integration of the developing countries into world
Expansion of international cooperation for development should place a particular emphasis on assisting the most vulnerable countries, that find themselves more and more marginalized and insecure. Unfavourable geographical location serves as a major impediment to development efforts of land-locked developing countries. The problems of this group of states demand increased attention and support of the international community. The steps that could ease the hardships of these countries have recently been examined in New York at the fourth meeting of governmental experts of the land-locked and transit developing countries, as well as of the donor States and institutions. Its outcome should be endorsed by the General Assembly.
In Northeast Asia, efforts are underway to conclude a sub-regional agreement on transit transportation as a follow-up to the decisions of the 1997 Ulaanbaatar meeting on transit transportation. The conclusion of this agreement will create a legal framework for facilitating transit trade not only within the sub-region, but well beyond it.
Sustainable development, environmental degradation, illicit drug trafficking, HIV/AIDS, organized crime and other transboundary problems should be adequately addressed at the national, regional and global levels. The “plus five” review special sessions of the General Assembly held or scheduled to be held as follow-ups to the UN summit conferences, are important not only for assessing the work done but also for giving a fresh impetus to the implementation of their objectives at all levels. At the national level, Mongolia, in close partnership with the United Nations organizations and the NGOs, has successfully organized in 1998-1999 the “One World Conference Series”. The aim of the 6 national conferences was to raise awareness at the grassroot level of the commitments made at the global conferences and ensure their integrated and coordinated follow-up.
Mongolia is committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and supports the strengthening of the international instruments existing in this field. We believe that the approval by this session of the Draft Optional Protocol to the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women would mark an important contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights and dignity of women the world over.
The continued gross violations of human rights make it imperative to speed up the establishment of the International Criminal Court. Mongolia highly appreciates and fully supports the efforts of the international community in this respect. Likewise, Mongolia joins the other States in condemning terrorist acts that take the lives of increasing number of innocent people in various parts of the world and supports every effort of member States, and of the international community as a whole to fight all forms of terrorism and strengthen the relevant international instruments.
This year the United Nations decade of international law is drawing to a close. The decade was instrumental in drawing the international community’s attention to the need for codification and progressive development of internatinal law. Today international law is regulating many aspects of international relations. I agree with the Secretary-General of the United Nations that one of the great accomplishments of the XX century is the creation of “an international code of human rights”, to which the outgoing decade has duly contributed. One of the practical results of the Decade was the adoption, on Mongolia’s initiative, last year by the General Assembly of a set of principles and guidelines for international negotiations that could be useful in conducting negotiations to manage international relations, to peacefully settle disputes and create new international norms of conduct of States.
Fully conscious of the challenges that lie ahead, the humankind still looks forward to the 21st century with great expectations and hope. I believe it is the earnest hope and keen desire of all the peoples of the world that the next century would be far better in all respects, more progressive and prosperous than the outgoing one. Where there is a will, there will surely be a way to achieve it. It is up to member States to make the dream become a reality. As the Secretary-General of the United Nations has underlined in his report, “ we can do it”.